Network Rail looks at re-opening lines as situation on roads eases

Network Rail has  begun work to assess the damage done to railway lines after Scotland was battered by gales earlier today.

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  • Fallen trees on Boghead Rd Lenzie just before 8am. Picture: Gerry Braiden.
  • Fallen trees on Boghead Rd Lenzie just before 8amPicture: Gerry Braiden.
  • Picture: Network Rail
  • Glasgow Caledonian electronics lecturer Carlos Gamio from Blanefield beside his car on B821 Cuilt Brae Rd. Pic: Martin Shields.
  • Storm damage in Glasgow: A tree down on the M8 slip road at Townhead. Picture: Colin Templeton.
  • Union Street closed after advertising sign blows down. Picture: Mark Gibson.

The rail firm announced the closure of the entire train network this morning “due to the huge amount of debris – trampolines, hay bales, trees – on the tracks”.

However, it says the damaging winds have now passed and has confirmed that the Edinburgh Glasgow Queen Street, the Glasgow Central to East Kilbride and Motherwell and the Fife Circle lines have re-opened.

The winds have been replaced by snow in Glasgow.

Network Rail tweeted: “The damaging winds have now past, we are starting to access the network for damage. We will only open lines when safe to do so.

"We are checking each line now. We are hopeful to get services running later today, although emergency timetables will be in force.”

Police have also downgraded the red alert ‘don’t drive’ warning to a high risk of disruption for all areas except Dumfries and Galloway.

A statement on the Police Scotland Facebook page said: "We are advising drivers that conditions for travel are extremely poor and there is a high risk of disruption for road journeys in Scotland. If you do travel, you are likely to experience significant delays.

"Congestion caused by vehicles may restrict emergency, recovery or winter maintenance vehicles from providing essential assistance or from clearing roads

"Drivers of HGVs should drive with extreme caution and be aware that you may be requested to park at a suitable position by the police

"Winter driving is a question of common sense and drivers should ask themselves if they really need to travel when conditions are poor. No-one should ever place themselves at risk on the road and it may be worth considering postponing your journey or making alternative arrangements such as delaying travel until conditions improve or using public transport

"If you are travelling on the roads you should ensure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions, making sure you have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event you are delayed for several hours. Charge your mobile phone and plan your route as well as alternative routes."

On the roads, police have warned that conditions for travel are extremely poor during the morning rush-hour and spoke of a high risk of disruption across Scotland, particularly in the west.

Erskine Bridge has been closed because of gale force winds, while an uprooted tree in Kelvingrove Park resulted in the closure of Argyle Street at University Avenue. Cathcart Road is closed between Caledonia Road/Aitkenhead Road and Maryhill Road is  down to one lane due to flooding.

The high winds have also disrupted ferry services.

Police Scotland reported a series of road closure across the Central Belt and said gale force winds had toppled over two lorries on the M74 earlier today.

A spokeswoman also said there had been roads blocked throughout the former Strathclyde Council area as a result of fallen trees and debris.

Thirty seven flights, including 34 domestic and 3 international, have been cancelled at Glasgow Airport. British Airways has cancelled flights between Glasgow and London until this afternoon.

Some schools have been closed after problems with power, bus services, or for structural safety reasons.

Around 20,000 homes are without power as rain and winds gusting up to 114mph batter the north of Scotland.

In the Highlands, gusts of 93mph have been recorded at Altnaharra, rising to 106mph at Glen Ogle and 114mph on the slopes of Aonach Mor near Fort William.

A lorry driver was killed after his HGV was blown over on the A801 one mile north of Boghead Roundabout, Bathgate, West Lothian, at around 8.10am. Four other people were injured and treated for minor injuries.

The Met Office has issued amber "be prepared" warnings of wind for most areas of Scotland.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued a number of flood alerts and warnings, with a focus on possible flooding on the east and west coasts.

Forecaster Laura Caldwell of MeteoGroup said: "We could see wind gusts mainly in western parts over exposed areas getting up into 90mph.

"There will be really strong winds pushing widely across Scotland as the weather system moves through.

"There's going to be quite a bit of heavy rain mainly in the morning, then that will clear away with snow showers following behind."

The Scottish Government's resilience operation has been activated to deal with the situation.

ScotRail services are not expected to run on 20 routes, including the West Highland lines, the Edinburgh to Perth via Kirkcaldy route and the Ayr to Kilmarnock stretch.

In addition, services are not due to operate until at least 4pm on the Glasgow Central to Ayr, Gourock, Largs, Wemyss Bay routes and Dalmuir to Balloch and Helensburgh.

Reduced timetables are in operation on main commuter routes such as Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street, Perth to Inverness, and Edinburgh and Glasgow to Aberdeen.

ScotRail has asked people not to travel if their journeys are not essential.

Train operator East Coast is advising passengers to allow extra time for their journeys. It will run a revised timetable throughout the day.

The 50mph speed limit for trains is in place as a "precaution".

Network Rail is expected to have hundreds of engineers out across the network ready to react to problems and clear any fallen trees.

Police Scotland has warned that motorists are likely to experience significant delays.

Superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing, said: "High winds and driving rain will make driving conditions difficult, particularly on open roads and over bridges.

"If you must travel during rush hour, allow plenty of time for your journey and drive with care to the road conditions."

Power companies have engineers ready to deal with any power line issues or general supply disruption around the country, the Scottish Government said.

All workers on Buchan Alpha oil platform, 83 miles off the coast of Aberdeen, have been flown off the platform because of the weather forecast, operator Talisman Sinopec Energy UK confirmed yesterday.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne advised ferry travellers to take the severe forecasts into account when planning journeys over the next few days, and air passengers are being advised to check with airports and airlines before travelling.

SEPA has issued 12 flood alerts and nine flood warnings covering both sides of the country.

Marc Becker, hydrology duty manager for SEPA, said: "A combination of high tides and storm surge will result in a risk of flooding in some coastal communities along the Firth of Forth, Fife, East Lothian and Scottish Borders coast during this afternoon."

Weather

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